RTI activist Bhupendra Vira murder: Shocking developments in the case
RTI activist Bhupendra Vira was shot dead on October 15, in what was a cold-blooded murder. Here are some significant developments that have taken place from the time of his killing till now
RTI activist Bhupendra Vira was shot dead on October 15, in what was a cold-blooded murder. Here are some significant developments that have taken place from the time of his killing till now.
Kalina RTI activist Bhupendra Vira was shot in the head when he was watching TV. Vira’s wife Ranjana was present in the house when the murder was committed, yet she didn’t hear a thing. The incident happened between 9.15 pm and 10 pm, when the victim was watching TV; his wife was in the other room. The police suspected that the shooter used a silencer on the firearm so that no one would hear it being fired. A police source said, “He was shot from a close range, on the left side. The bullet exited from the back of the head. We suspect it was a foreign-made gun fitted with a silencer. The area where Bhupendra stayed has four entry-and-exit lanes; the shooter may have escaped through any one of them.”
Grieving family members of Bhupendra Vira
The last conversation
Ranjana recalled her last conversation with her husband just minutes before he was killed. “It was around 9 pm after he reached home. He changed his clothes and sat on the plastic chair in front of the TV and was watching a pravachan (religious lecture). When I went to close the main door, he told me to keep it open, saying he had told the kids playing outside to be careful with the ball, and he wanted to see if they would heed him. He said to me that if the ball entered the house, he would not return it to them to teach them a lesson. I then went to the bathroom, and a few minutes later, a local passing by saw him bleeding and alerted me. I checked on him and found him breathing. So we rushed him to VN Desai hospital, but doctors declared him dead. When the police reached the hospital, I found out that the wound from where he was bleeding was a bullet injury,” she said.
Arrest of ex-corporator and son
After Vira was shot dead at his residence, his family suspected that local politician and former Congress corporator from Kalina, Razzak Khan could be behind the killing because of a long-running feud between them and in retribution for Vira’s activism. Subsequently, the Vakola police arrested Razzak Khan and his eldest son Amjad under Sections 302 (murder) and 34 (common intention).
The police found that there were several disputes between the deceased activist and Razzak. Bhupendra had also complained to the police that his life was in danger following an attack on his son Mayur and his cousin brother Rajat in 2010. Sheila Vira, Mayur’s wife, told mid-day, “Razzak Khan and his son had forcefully taken over my father-in-law’s steel goods godown. They also attacked my husband and his cousin brother. They also arrested in the matter in 2010 and were in Arthur Road Jail for over a week before they got out on bail.”
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Mayur added, “He had life threats from Razzak Khan and his sons after I was attacked in 2010 with a sword. Just two-three days before the murder, he had spoken to me over the phone and told me that he wanted to visit me in Goa. He was to come to Goa after Dussehra but had delayed the plan for some legal proceedings. Then, on Sunday, I received a phone call from a relative that he had been killed.”
One-man army against illegal constructions
Armed with the Right to Information Act, Vira fought against illegal construction in Kalina. In the past six months alone, he was responsible for 100 notices and demolition orders being issued against illegal structures – most of them allegedly belonging to the ex-corporator who was arrested in connection with Vira’s murder.
The arrested accused
Who is Razzak Khan?
A former Congress corporator, Razzak Khan has seven cases registered against him — six at Vakola police station and one at Azad Maidan police station. The cases include charges of physical assault, trespassing and intimidation. He allegedly also grabbed several patches of land in Kalina and built illegal structures on them. His local clout is indicated by the fact that the neighbourhood in which Vira lived is called Razzak Compound.
Four days after Vira was shot dead in his home in Kalina, Razzak Khan’s son, Amjad, confessed that he was the one who pulled the trigger. Razzak and Amjad were arrested on connection with the murder. On the very day the case was transferred form the Vakola police to the Crime Branch Unit 8, Amjad cracked during the interrogations, and admitted to shooting Vira with a pistol. Cops also found a pistol and five live cartridges at the Khan residence in Vakola. In his statement to the police, Amjad said this was the murder weapon. This was a major breakthrough in the investigation, as so far, the police had suspected that the murder was executed by a hitman.
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